“When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, sure ’tis like a morn in spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter, you can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy, all the world seems bright and gay,
And When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, sure, they steal your heart away.”
Is the chorus to “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”, a song first published in 1912 at a time when songs paying tribute to a romanticized Ireland were numerous and popular both in Great Britain and the United States.
“There are only two kinds of people in the world, The Irish and those who wish they were.”
Why are the Irish so special? Let me provide you with but a few of the many reasons:
- It has been said that the Irish “saved civilization”. That’s kind of a big deal, right?
- If you don’t believe #1, then read Thomas Cahill’s best-selling book. Keep in mind that Mr. Cahill is of Irish descent too, so he may be a little bias.
- There have been many notable Irish people. The 6th century Irish monk Columbanus for example is regarded as one of the “fathers of Europe”, along with Bono of course.
- Then there is the leprechaun, the mythical creature of Irish folklore who is said to have possessed certain magical powers.
- Let’s not forget Notre Dame University, one of our nation’s top institutions of higher learning and the home of the “Fighting Irish”.
- Finally, unlike many nationalities, we Irish have our very own holiday – Saint Patrick’s Day.
Saint Patrick’s Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick is a cultural and religious holiday that is celebrated on March 17th. It is named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland.
Little is known about Saint Patrick’s early life; however, according to Irish legend he used the 3-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the early Irish people. This may help explain why the shamrock is so prominent in images about Ireland and Saint Patrick’s Day.
Although I am of Scot-Irish, English and German descent, I steadfastly declare myself to be Irish when asked about my ancestry. Why? There is something magical (other than the leprechaun) about being of Irish lineage, and Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the holidays we look forward to each year.
Many others agree; both Irish and non-Irish alike seem to revel in the Saint Patrick’s Day parades and celebration. In fact, green ribbons and shamrocks were worn to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day as far back as the early 17th century.
Like many people of Irish descent, we will celebrate this March 17th with the traditional Irish dinner of corn beef, red potatoes, cabbage, and of course a few mugs of beer. However, no green beer, that is where I have to draw a line. There are some things you don’t mess with, and good beer (or a great Kansas City steak) are two of them!
May Irish eyes smile upon you this Saint Patrick’s Day and throughout the year.
“For your smile is a part of the love in your heart,
And it makes even sunshine more bright …
Let us smile each chance we get.”
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day … keep smiling!
P.S. Make sure you’ve got your green on today!!!
COPYRIGHT © 2013-23 John Carroll